BURY Council is recognising volunteers who have supported their local communities during the ongoing pandemic as part of National Volunteers Week.

Hundreds of people have come forward to provide a lifeline to vulnerable people and their neighbours since the lockdown began on March 23.

Many of the volunteers were enrolled by Bury’s five community hubs to help deliver food and prescriptions for people unable to leave their homes.

Volunteers have also been making regular phone calls to help combat loneliness and pick up any issues where further help is needed.

Councillor David Jones, cabinet member for communities and emergency planning, said: “The Covid-19 crisis has been so difficult for so many people, but it has also brought out the best in our local community across the borough.

“The stories we hear in our community hubs of how people are giving up their time to support each other are heart-warming.

“Volunteers have been helping people they have never met before and binding our community together more strongly. Both the volunteers and the people receiving help are benefiting.

“In national volunteers week we pay tribute to them and thank them for all their hard work."

Netta Hymanson, from Prestwich, has been helping people with regular phone calls.

She said: “I have six people who I ring regularly, usually once a week. It has been fabulous, thoroughly enjoyable.

“I used to deliver parcels and I remember seeing people who obviously didn’t speak to anybody from one week to the next.

“So when the lockdown started I thought, this is going to be terrible for those people, and they will be frightened of the virus too.

“It’s so important for people’s mental health to have someone to talk to regularly.”

Russell Bernstein, from Radcliffe, has been doing shopping trips for people who are shielding from the virus and collected a replacement nebuliser for one person.

He said: “I was referred to a man who normally got his relatives to collect his replacement nebuliser, but his relative had family who are shielding so that wasn’t possible.

“I have four regulars that I get shopping for. People are really happy and grateful, and you build up a relationship with people as a result.

“I have volunteered before, with groups or organisations, but this is different because it’s with an individual. I think that’s helped to create a greater community bond.”

Colleen Donovan-Togo, from Prestwich, has been making deliveries to older people on her bicycle.

She said: “Most of the ladies live quite close to me but they are not people I knew before, so it’s been nice to connect with my neighbours in a way that I would not have done before.

“Some of the shopping was just at the corner shop, but they wouldn’t have been able to get even there, so people have been very pleased and grateful.

“We cannot be physically together but this has meant we can still stay connected in our community.”